14 POINTS OF FASCISM

From DailyKos

1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism

From the prominent displays of flags and bunting to the ubiquitous lapel pins, the fervor to show patriotic nationalism, both on the part of the regime itself and of citizens caught up in its frenzy, was always obvious. Catchy slogans, pride in the military, and demands for unity were common themes in expressing this nationalism. It was usually coupled with a suspicion of things foreign that often bordered on xenophobia.

2. Disdain for the importance of human rights

The regimes themselves viewed human rights as of little value and a hindrance to realizing the objectives of the ruling elite. Through clever use of propaganda, the population was brought to accept these human rights abuses by marginalizing, even demonizing, those being targeted. When abuse was egregious, the tactic was to use secrecy, denial, and disinformation.

3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause

The most significant common thread among these regimes was the use of scapegoating as a means to divert the people’s attention from other problems, to shift blame for failures, and to channel frustration in controlled directions. The methods of choice—relentless propaganda and disinformation—were usually effective. Often the regimes would incite “spontaneous” acts against the target scapegoats, usually communists, socialists, liberals, Jews, ethnic and racial minorities, traditional national enemies, members of other religions, secularists, homosexuals, and “terrorists.” Active opponents of these regimes were inevitably labeled as terrorists and dealt with accordingly.

4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism

Ruling elites always identified closely with the military and the industrial infrastructure that supported it. A disproportionate share of national resources was allocated to the military, even when domestic needs were acute. The military was seen as an expression of nationalism, and was used whenever possible to assert national goals, intimidate other nations, and increase the power and prestige of the ruling elite.

5. Rampant sexism

Beyond the simple fact that the political elite and the national culture were male-dominated, these regimes inevitably viewed women as second-class citizens. They were adamantly anti-abortion and also homophobic. These attitudes were usually codified in Draconian laws that enjoyed strong support by the orthodox religion of the country, thus lending the regime cover for its abuses.

6. A controlled mass media

Under some of the regimes, the mass media were under strict direct control and could be relied upon never to stray from the party line. Other regimes exercised more subtle power to ensure media orthodoxy. Methods included the control of licensing and access to resources, economic pressure, appeals to patriotism, and implied threats. The leaders of the mass media were often politically compatible with the power elite. The result was usually success in keeping the general public unaware of the regimes’ excesses.

7. Obsession with national security

Inevitably, a national security apparatus was under direct control of the ruling elite. It was usually an instrument of oppression, operating in secret and beyond any constraints. Its actions were justified under the rubric of protecting “national security,” and questioning its activities was portrayed as unpatriotic or even treasonous.

8. Religion and ruling elite tied together

Unlike communist regimes, the fascist and protofascist regimes were never proclaimed as godless by their opponents. In fact, most of the regimes attached themselves to the predominant religion of the country and chose to portray themselves as militant defenders of that religion. The fact that the ruling elite’s behavior was incompatible with the precepts of the religion was generally swept under the rug. Propaganda kept up the illusion that the ruling elites were defenders of the faith and opponents of the “godless.” A perception was manufactured that opposing the power elite was tantamount to an attack on religion.

9. Power of corporations protected

Although the personal life of ordinary citizens was under strict control, the ability of large corporations to operate in relative freedom was not compromised. The ruling elite saw the corporate structure as a way to not only ensure military production (in developed states), but also as an additional means of social control. Members of the economic elite were often pampered by the political elite to ensure a continued mutuality of interests, especially in the repression of “have-not” citizens.

10. Power of labor suppressed or eliminated

Since organized labor was seen as the one power center that could challenge the political hegemony of the ruling elite and its corporate allies, it was inevitably crushed or made powerless. The poor formed an underclass, viewed with suspicion or outright contempt. Under some regimes, being poor was considered akin to a vice.

11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts

Intellectuals and the inherent freedom of ideas and expression associated with them were anathema to these regimes. Intellectual and academic freedom were considered subversive to national security and the patriotic ideal. Universities were tightly controlled; politically unreliable faculty harassed or eliminated. Unorthodox ideas or expressions of dissent were strongly attacked, silenced, or crushed. To these regimes, art and literature should serve the national interest or they had no right to exist.

12. Obsession with crime and punishment

Most of these regimes maintained Draconian systems of criminal justice with huge prison populations. The police were often glorified and had almost unchecked power, leading to rampant abuse. “Normal” and political crime were often merged into trumped-up criminal charges and sometimes used against political opponents of the regime. Fear, and hatred, of criminals or “traitors” was often promoted among the population as an excuse for more police power.

13. Rampant cronyism and corruption

Those in business circles and close to the power elite often used their position to enrich themselves. This corruption worked both ways; the power elite would receive financial gifts and property from the economic elite, who in turn would gain the benefit of government favoritism. Members of the power elite were in a position to obtain vast wealth from other sources as well: for example, by stealing national resources. With the national security apparatus under control and the media muzzled, this corruption was largely unconstrained and not well understood by the general population.

14. Fraudulent elections

Elections in the form of plebiscites or public opinion polls were usually bogus. When actual elections with candidates were held, they would usually be perverted by the power elite to get the desired result. Common methods included maintaining control of the election machinery, intimidating and disenfranchising opposition voters, destroying or disallowing legal votes, and, as a last resort, turning to a judiciary beholden to the power elite.


NOTE: The above 14 Points was written in 2004 by Dr. Laurence Britt, a political scientist. Dr. Britt studied the fascist regimes of: Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia), and Pinochet (Chile).


“What no one seemed to notice. . . was the ever widening gap. . .between the government and the people. . . And it became always wider. . . the whole process of its coming into being, was above all diverting, it provided an excuse not to think for people who did not want to think anyway . . . (it) gave us some dreadful, fundamental things to think about . . .and kept us so busy with continuous changes and ‘crises’ and so fascinated . . . by the machinations of the ‘national enemies,’ without and within, that we had no time to think about these dreadful things that were growing, little by little, all around us. . .

Each step was so small, so inconsequential, so well explained or, on occasion, ‘regretted,’ that unless one understood what the whole thing was in principle, what all these ‘little measures’. . . must some day lead to, one no more saw it developing from day to day than a farmer in his field sees the corn growing. . . .Each act. . . is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You wait for the next and the next. You wait for one great shocking occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will join you in resisting somehow.

You don’t want to act, or even talk, alone. . . you don’t want to ‘go out of your way to make trouble.’ . . .But the one great shocking occasion, when tens or hundreds or thousands will join with you, never comes. That’s the difficulty. The forms are all there, all untouched, all reassuring, the houses, the shops, the jobs, the mealtimes, the visits, the concerts, the cinema, the holidays. But the spirit, which you never noticed because you made the lifelong mistake of identifying it with the forms, is changed. Now you live in a world of hate and fear, and the people who hate and fear do not even know it themselves, when everyone is transformed, no one is transformed. . . .You have accepted things you would not have accepted five years ago, a year ago, things your father. . . could never have imagined.” :

From Milton Mayer, They Thought They Were Free, The Germans, 1938-45 (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1955)

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Constant Reinforcement Through Usage Changes Frozen Thinking

Instead of fighting with transgender people and repeating the same arguments about feeling colonized and erased by the insistence upon “Transgender as Umbrella”.  I withdrew from the battle.  I said, “Time out!”  Re-examined.  Engaged in criticism/self-criticism and came to the conclusion that the whole battle was a waste of energy.

After all I really didn’t hate transgender people.  There is nothing in being born with transsexualism that requires me to hate people born with transgenderism and we certainly seem to have a lot of rabid ultra right wing religious fanatics as a common enemy.  Besides as a person who identifies as the L-word of the queer alphabet I was down with standing up for the rights of transgender people too.

So what I did was start writing it “T/T” and making a point of using “transsexual and transgender” instead of just “transgender”.  Along with calling a moratorium on name calling and expressing a willingness to work ad hoc on issues involving all of us.

Well like WBT, which caught on in next to no time it seems as if more people especially in Canada are using “T/T” and “Transsexual and Transgender”

The following is from a review of a Lady Gaga concert in Vancouver:

The full review is in The North Shore News and is titled:

Lady Gaga review: Vancouver gets Gaga-fied

By Jennifer Luther, North Shore News August 24 2010

http://www.nsnews.com/entertainment/Lady+Gaga+review+Vancouver+gets+Gaga+fied/3436902/story.html#ixzz0xZHAiSQk

“Surprisingly Gaga emphasizes real experiences in her Monster Ball material. She played a heart-wrenching song about her father’s alcoholism on the piano (during which the instrument erupted in to a flaming tornado), sneezed in to the microphone, spat on stage to clear her throat, and spoke openly about lesbian, gay, transgender and transsexual rights.”

Perhaps winning rights is also a matter of quiet insistence and constant reinforcement.  Perhaps rather than changing our message we should attack the validity of their message.
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New US poll report finds changing attitudes to homosexuality

Aha there is a reason for the sudden up sweep of targeting Muslims in America for attack and the backing off on L/G folks.

What is the point in gathering a lynch mob if the lynch mob is disinclined to hate the group you want them to hate.

The entire point of demagoguery is misdirection.  Get people focused on hating someone and then they won’t notice how the greedy corporate/Wall Street rich are ass raping them.

From Pink News UK http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2010/08/23/new-us-poll-finds-changing-attitudes-to-same-sex-marriage/

By Christopher Brocklebank

August 23, 2010

According to new national research, Americans have become more accepting of homosexuality of the past 16 years, with over half of those polled saying they support civil unions.

As reported in the Desert Sun, a 1994 Pew Research Centre poll had found that under half its respondents agreed that homosexuality was “a way of life” that should be accepted by society.

But the Public Religion Research Institute’s new report, released last Friday and compiled from a selction of public studies done over the last 20 years, said support for same-sex civil unions had risen from 45 per cent in 2003 to 57 per cent in 2009. The increase in support for same-sex marriage was more modest, but still showed an rise in support from 30 per cent in 2003 to 38 per cent in 2010.

Among religious respondents to the recent polls, Latino Catholics showed more movement toward supporting gay marriage (at 57 per cent) than Latino Protestants (at 22 per cent).

Continue reading at:  http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2010/08/23/new-us-poll-finds-changing-attitudes-to-same-sex-marriage/

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Peeling Away Theories on Gender and the Brain

Ah the pendulum swings back in refuting the last 30 years of misogynistic backlash to trying to convince people that male brains and female brains are inherently different.

I have been down on the whole idea of gender and boy brain/girl brain for a long time because I see that argument as being one step from an argument that this the reason men are superior and should rule over women.

I view gender as a social construct that is for the most part learned rather than innate.  There are certain innate elements but what really creates gender is a magnification of it.  There is an interesting quote from Jan Morris:

Jan Morris, the historian, travel writer and male-to-female transsexual, saw this implicit stereotyping firsthand: “The more I was treated as a woman, the more woman I became. ”

From The New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/24/science/24scibks.html?_r=1&ref=books

Peeling Away Theories on Gender and the Brain

By KATHERINE BOUTON
“Delusions of Gender” takes on that tricky question, Why exactly are men from Mars and women from Venus?, and eviscerates both the neuroscientists who claim to have found the answers and the popularizers who take their findings and run with them.

The author, Cordelia Fine, who has a Ph.D. in cognitive neuroscience from University College London, is an acerbic critic, mincing no words when it comes to those she disagrees with. But her sharp tongue is tempered with humor and linguistic playfulness, as the title itself suggests. Academics like Simon Baron-Cohen and Dr. Louann Brizendine will want to come to this volume well armed. So would Norman Geschwind if he were still alive. Popular authors like John Gray (“Men are from Mars”), Michael Gurian (“What Could He Be Thinking?”) and Dr. Leonard Sax (“Why Gender Matters”) may want to read something else.

Sometimes all it takes is their own words, as in this example from Dr. Brizendine’s 2007 book “The Female Brain”: “Maneuvering like an F-15, Sarah’s female brain is a high-performance emotion machine — geared to tracking, moment by moment, the nonverbal signals of the innermost feelings of others.” Is Sarah some kind of psychic? Dr. Fine clarifies: “She is simply a woman who enjoys the extraordinary gift of mind reading that, apparently, is bestowed on all owners of a female brain.”

Experts used to attribute gender inequality to the “delicacy of the brain fibers” in women ; then to the smaller dimensions of the female brain (the “missing five ounces,” the Victorians called it); then to the ratio of skull length to skull breadth. In 1915 the neurologist Dr. Charles L. Dana wrote in this newspaper that because a woman’s upper spinal cord is smaller than a man’s it affects women’s “efficiency” in the evaluation of “political initiative or of judicial authority in a community’s organization” — and thus compromises their ability to vote.

These days gender inequality is commonly explained by neurological differences, most popularly the notion that the surge of testosterone that occurs in the eighth week of fetal development affects the relative size of the right and left hemispheres of the brain, and of the corpus callosum, the bundle of neurons that connects the two. In the 1980s Norman Geschwind proposed that the surge results in a smaller left hemisphere for males, leaving them with greater potential for right-hemisphere development, which, as he put it, results in “superior right-hemisphere talents, such as artistic, musical, or mathematical talent.” In female brains the hemispheres are more collaborative, explaining women’s superior verbalizing skills.

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/24/science/24scibks.html?_r=1&ref=books